By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—The Federal Government, Monday, explained why it was conducting the 2017 military pensions verification exercise for over 90, 000 ex-soldiers across the country, saying it was aimed at blocking leakages, updating pensioners records and improving ex-soldiers database.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali who made the disclosure at the commencement of the verification exercise expected to be attended by 7, 000 ex-soldiers in the Abuja area, also noted that exercise was being conducted by the ministry of Defence to re-appraise the effectiveness of military pension’s administration with a view to making improvements.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Hajia Nuratu Batagarawa, the minister said it was also aimed at erasing deceased and fake pensioners from the system.
“The military pensions verification exercise is conducted simultaneously in all the 36 states of the federation and FCT at designated military formations and some non-military formations” the minister added.
Furthermore, he appreciated the courage and sacrifices of some of the pensioners who participated in the Second World War, the Nigerian Civil war, Peace Support Operations around the world and Internal Security Operations.
He said: “These sacrifices have no doubt kept the world a safer place and in particular, Nigeria together and united.”
Sub-Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Pensions appropriation, Abubakar Dahiru in his speech, said he was at the verification exercise for an oversight and to ensure that monies budgeted for military pensions was well utilized.
Dahiru said his committee was aware of the challenges facing the military pension’s board administration which got only N150 million allocation in the 2017 budget instead of N350 million noting that the money was grossly inadequate.
He disclosed that for the 2018 budget, taking into account the challenges, the debts, infrastructure and equipment needed for a proper administrative machinery to run the military pension’s board for the year, the sum of N500 million had been appropriated.
“We know that this amount will not be enough because pensioners are increasing yearly, soldiers are being discharge for various reasons, it would however go a long way in clearing outstanding debts, and other pressing challenges.’’
Earlier Chairman, Military Pensions Board, Brigadier General Adesope noted that the 7, 000 pensioners expected for the exercise are expected to provide relevant documents before an update of